An article published July 10th in the New York Times heralds a much-needed addition to addiction treatment, aimed at making it a recognized specialty like surgery, endocrinology, obstetrics, etc.
In a move that recognizes addiction as a disease, rather than simply a psychological or moral problem, the program will provide a one-year residency in addiction medicine for doctors who have complete their basic training and are aiming for a specialty. They will spend their residency studying addiction and its connection with heredity, brain chemistry, and psychological issues while treating a broad variety of addictions ranging from alcohol and prescription drugs to nicotine.
According to Nora D. Volkow, of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the prior lack of this kind of education for doctors was “a gap in our training program…a very serious problem.”
The American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM), formed in 2007 to address the issues surrounding medical training in addiction, expects to accredit 10 to 15 additional institutions this year. Those currently accredited are:
Boston University Medical Center
University of Florida College of Medicine
St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York
New York University at Buffalo School of Medicine
University of Maryland Medical System
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
University of Minnesota Medical School
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Marworth Alcohol and Chemical Dependency Treatment Center in Waverly, PA
and the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii
Kudos to these institutions, ABAM, and the people in the medical and other professions who worked long and hard to accomplish this great stride forward in the understanding and treatment of addiction.